The Proud Duck
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Another illustration of how much elementary school has changed since I was there.
I have a feeling that the local zero-tolerance authorities in question wouldn't have been amused at my 4th-grade cover art for a book report on "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (B-25s bombing a city skyline) or my 7th-grade Alistair McLean wannabe short story (international man of mystery pursues terrorist in hunt that culminates in shoot-out on golf course). Maybe their intervention might have made me a touchy-feely "All Things Considered" listener. Or maybe it would have turned me into an actual resentful homicidal maniac they would have thought I already was.
I couldn't help thinking whether these people would have suspended Goya (for that stark painting of the Napoleonic firing squad gunning down Spanish civilians) or Delacroix (for "Massacre at Chios" or, heaven forbid, "The Death of Sardanapalus.")
In another context, the zero-tolerance mushmind in question blandly said something to the effect of "Rules are rules, and if we make any exceptions, we can't enforce the rules at all." Nonsense. Rules are meant to solve specific problems, and prevent specific harms. If their application results in consequences that do nothing to serve their purposes, either the rules or the application is flawed. Anglo-American common law recognizes the concept of "equity," which goes beyond the letter of the law when justice requires it. Now, that concept can be taken to extremes, too -- but to fall back on "Rules are rules" is lazy, unimaginative, and craven.